On our family ranch in Wild Horse, CO four generations live and work and laugh and play together.
I’m Emily, 28-years-old, and on the Ranch I fall into many categories: wife, mother, daughter, grand-daughter, marketing guru, cook, cattle-pusher and occasionally “the one in the way.” My husband Justin, whom I like to call John Wayne, and our Little Lady, Tressie (1), were recently blessed with the opportunity to move back to my family’s ranch. After leaving the ranches we grew up on for college at Colorado State University (Go Rams!), we landed in the big city of Colorado Springs. Now I know what many of you may be saying, “Colorado Springs, that’s not really a BIGcity,” but to me and John Wayne, it was a huge metropolis compared to the ranching communities we both grew up in. So, we feel truly blessed that the opportunity to return to the Ranch presented itself sooner than we had anticipated. Now I should mention, while we are part of the day-to-day operations of the Ranch and we also operate our own small cow/calf operation, we do still go to full-time day jobs in Limon (55 miles one way from the Ranch). These full-time day jobs just make things work (better) right now.
Now that you’ve been introduced to the two generations of the Ranch that live under my roof, let me tell you about the other two. My grandparents are the foundation of the Ranch, through years of hard work and good business practices they have built this Ranch that allows us to live the lifestyle that we love. My Grandpa is a retired Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service (ASCS) Director; due in part to his knowledge and experiences, our Ranch is very involved in many conservation programs and efforts. And finally, my parents. My parents are the ones that make it all happen. My grandparents are semi-retired and me and John Wayne head off to town each day, but day in and day out, my parents are the ones who are here running the business. Sure, they do get to be outside on the sunny spring days, experiencing firsthand the new life and joys that come with springtime, while I’m grumbling about being stuck in my office, but they also have to be outside during the spring blizzard, helping the heifer calve, while I’m thinking it’s not too bad being in my warm office. They recently gained a helper; one-year-old Tressie spends her days with Grandpa and Grandma while Mama and Daddy head off to work. My Dad is a smart cattleman and innovative businessman. I admire my Dad’s work ethic and willingness to try new things. Our Ranch has survived hard times and thrived in the good times due to my Dad’s management practices.
I wouldn’t trade our close-knit family lifestyle for anything, but that’s not to say that four generations living within a three mile radius does not come without its challenges. When John Wayne and I moved back to the Ranch last fall, we moved into a trailer house on the Ranch. Our new home and my folk’s house are particularly close to each other. John Wayne and I were doing some painting in our new home. I am great at coming up with great design ideas, but not always so good at executing them, cue John Wayne. This particular project consisted of a red wall and tan wall budding up next to each other. John Wayne sick of painting, really sick of painting red (any of you that have ever painted a red wall know why) asked me to help him finish with the touch-ups. I halfheartedly and cautiously agreed (remember, great at ideas, not so great at execution). Exactly seventeen seconds after taking the tan paint brush in my hands, an unexplainable catastrophe occurred. The tan paint brush went somersaulting out of my hands managing to cover John Wayne’s perfectly covered red wall with tan polka dots. Needless to say, a fight ensued. (Now might be a good time to mention that I have red hair.) The next day, my Mom proceeded to kindly tell me that my Dad had been out riding through the cows while the said events were taking place. He had one simple message for us: “Close your windows when you want to fight.”
So there you have it, the first of many lessons learned from living and working, laughing and playing with four generations of your family. There may be challenges, but the rewards always outweigh them and every day ends the same, gathered around the supper table thanking the Good Lord for how He has blessed us.